Carolyn McMaster | August 21, 2014
New companies are coming online all the time in the cleantech, renewable energy and clean transportation sectors, even as businesses that have been around a while are finding new markets and showing success. That means competition is fierce for early-stage companies.
In these fields—where investors and customers feel like they’re taking an expensive risk; standards, technology and policy are continually evolving; and the pressure to deliver the ideal solution is relentless—the bar for communicating credibly is particularly high.
I’ve been doing some market research, and I’ve noticed communication errors that early-stage companies make more often than they should: they fail to define the market for their technology or services, or they don’t make a business case for the demand, including policy and market imperatives. For example, they boast about the practicality of the technology but don’t provide information about market potential, such as who’s already using it (or who would use it), ease of implementation, relative costs or other key data.
That’s a credibility killer. It kills not only because it may raise doubts about how useful the technology really is, but also because it creates skepticism about the company’s ability to grow—and these companies miss the chance to explain the value of key niche markets and demonstrate understanding of policy drivers.
The cure is to show that you’re doing more than proving a concept—define your customers, share key market data and play up market-building initiatives.
Credibility is a core element of building a rock-solid brand in new technology markets. Communications that have it can make people more open to brand-new processes and products, assuage fears that your technology won’t pan out and help people distinguish facts from hearsay.
For more about credible communications in cleantech and other fields, check out our Strategy Shift reports, 7 Credibility Killers and How to Avoid Them.